| "Brett, that is why WELS is in bed with us -|
we teach exactly the same thing!"
Justified by grace through faith
As Lutherans, we believe that we are justified by grace through faith. The Lutheran Confessions guide us in our understanding of justification by identifying three intersecting affirmations:
- solus Christus,
- sola gratia,
- and sola fide (Christ alone, grace alone, and by faith alone).
Deeply grounded in Scripture, understood as the living Word of God, these together proclaim Jesus Christ as central to the Gospel:
• Solus Christus (Christ alone) insists that the purpose of Scripture is to reveal Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world. Scripture is to be interpreted through the lens of Christ’s death and resurrection for the salvation of all.
• Sola gratia (grace alone) affirms that we are saved by grace alone. As with solus Christus, sola gratia means that there is nothing a person can do through his or her action that will create a right relationship with God. Only God’s grace can do that.
• Sola fide (by faith alone) affirms that, through the hearing of God’s Word, the Holy Spirit ignites faith (trust) in God within us.
These three emphases also tell us that sin does not have to do simply with the keeping or breaking of rules or laws. Rather, we sin when we turn away from God and look to ourselves. Sin turns us toward obsessive self-concern, with disastrous consequences for ourselves and others. We live therefore within the paradox that in our sexuality, as in other aspects of life, we always encounter both our own sinfulness and God’s grace. It is only through Christ that we can turn in faith to trust God, which leads immediately to our baptismal vocation to love and serve the neighbor.
GJ - As I wrote before, when WELS and LCMS pastors correct "justified by faith" with "Justified BY GRACE! through faith," they are parroting the Halle Pietism formula of universal absolution, which dogma must be accepted by faith. That means making a decision for UOJ, as Walther and JP Meyer clearly taught, a strange amalgamation of Calvinism and Arminianism - conveniently expressed as Cal-Arminian. Yes, one can espouse Cal-Arminianism. Your synodical leaders do already, and it is a category used at Wheaton College.
Anyone speaking of faith in Christ will be corrected the same way, whether by ELCA, or WELS, or the pea-brains in Misouri. WELS/ELS are the densest in UOJdom, certainly the equal to ELCA. The LCMS is quite mixed.
I know there are exceptions to this horror story in WELS and perhaps in the CLC (sic), but those people are quiet unicorns, seldom seen.